Working with Realtime Effects

You can add realtime effects to a track, bus, submix, or the Master bus in a multitrack project, or to an audio file project, and then adjust the effect parameters to control the way in which the effects alter the sound of the track or project.

Figure. Diagram showing signal flow.

For more information about signal flow in Soundtrack Pro and the various points in the signal flow where you can add effects, see Basic Signal Routing in Soundtrack Pro and Using Sends and Busses.

Working in the Effects Tab

The Effects tab is where you add realtime effects and adjust realtime effect parameters.

To open the Effects tab
Do one of the following:
  • Choose Window > Tabs > Effects (or press Command-5).

  • Click the Effects tab to make it active.

The Effects tab becomes active and displays the current effects settings for the track, bus, submix, or project.

The upper part of the Effects tab contains lists of available effect categories. When you click an item in the Category list, the available effects in that category appear in the Effects list, where you can select and add them to the current effects chain.

The lower part of the Effects tab shows the effects and sends in the current effects chain. You can show and edit effect and send parameters in the Effect Parameters area.

Adding Realtime Effects

You can add realtime effects in the Effects tab. You can create effects chains, which are a series of effects in a specific order. You can reorder effects in an effects chain at any time, and hear the results immediately.

To add a realtime effect to a track, bus, or submix in the Timeline
  1. Select a track, bus, submix, or the Master bus in the Timeline.

  2. Do one of the following to open the Effects tab:

    • Choose Window > Tabs > Effects (or press Command-5).

    • Click the Effects tab to make it active.

  3. In the Effects list, select a category in the Category list to display the effects for that category in the Effects list.

  4. In the Effects list, do one of the following:

    • Double-click the effect you want to add.

    • Drag the effect to the Effect Parameters area.

    • Select the effect name, then click the Add Effect button.

      Figure. Effects tab showing categories, effects, and the Add Effect button.

The effect’s advanced settings window appears, and the effect name appears in the Effect Parameters area with its checkbox selected.

Note: For information about applying effects to individual audio files, see Applying Processing Effects.

To add a realtime effect to a track, bus, or submix in the Mixer
Do one of the following:
  • Control-click an effects slot in the channel strip of the track, bus, or submix, choose Add Effect from the shortcut menu, then choose an effect from one of the submenus.

  • Select the channel strip in the Mixer for the track, bus, or submix and follow the steps in the previous task.

To add a realtime effect to an audio file project in the File Editor project view
  1. Open an audio file or audio file project in the File Editor.

  2. In the Effects tab, select a category in the Category list to display the effects for that category in the Effects list.

  3. In the Effect list, do one of the following:

    • Double-click the effect you want to add to the track.

    • Select the effect name, then click the Add Effect button.

    • Drag the effect to the Effect Parameters area.

The effect’s advanced settings window appears, and the effect name appears in the Effect Parameters area with its checkbox selected.

Important: Some effects, including reverb and delay, add audio that extends past the end of the file. This is called an effect tail. When you export a project mix, or export a track, bus, or submix with an effect that produces a tail, the exported file is lengthened to include the effect tail until the point at which the tail falls below –96 dB. Also, when you choose Process > Render To Action for an audio file project with a realtime effect that produces a tail, the rendered project is lengthened to include the effect tail until the point at which the tail falls below –96 dB.

Adjusting Realtime Effect Parameters

Once you’ve added a realtime effect, you can adjust the effect parameters to change the way the effect alters the sound of the track, bus, submix, or audio file project. Each type of effect has its own parameters, as discussed earlier. Many realtime effects have an advanced settings window. The advanced settings window appears as a floating window with related controls grouped together, and may provide an appearance that simulates a hardware effects device. Effects with an advanced settings window have an Advanced button at the top of the Effect Parameters area in the Effects tab.

Note: Generally, you use the advanced settings window to make adjustments to the effect. While you can also make adjustments in the Effect Parameters area of the Effects tab, its primary purpose is to enable automation, to chain, reorder and bypass effects, and to add and adjust sends.

To adjust realtime effect parameters in the advanced settings window
  1. Do one of the following to open the window:

    • Apply the effect to a track, bus, or submix and the effect’s advanced settings window appears automatically.

    • In the Effects tab, click the Advanced button for the effect.

    • In the Mixer, Control-click the effect name, then choose Show [effect name] Advanced Settings from the shortcut menu.

    • In the Mixer, double-click the effect name.

    The effect’s advanced settings window appears.

    Figure. PlatinumVerb advanced settings window.
  2. Play the audio in the Timeline or the File Editor project view.

    Optionally, you can apply a cycle region or solo the track, bus, or submix in the Timeline.

  3. Make adjustments in the advanced settings window as you play the audio.

    You can adjust the effect’s parameters by moving the controls in the window. Each advanced settings window may have unique controls in addition to sliders, buttons, and value fields.

    For detailed information on adjusting the parameters of specific effects, see the Soundtrack Pro Effects Reference document in the Help menu.

  4. Optionally, do any of the following:

    • Click the Reset button to reset the parameters to their default values.

    • Click the Toggle Effect Bypass button to hear the audio without the effect.

    • Click the Show Presets button to display the available presets.

    For more information about presets, see Working with Effect Presets.

  5. When you are finished, close the advanced settings window.

The changes are applied.

To adjust realtime effect parameters in the Effect Parameters area of the Effects tab
  1. Click the disclosure triangle next to the effect in the Effect Parameters area to display its parameters.

  2. Adjust the effect parameter by doing one of the following:

    • Drag the slider.

    • Select the checkbox.

    • Choose an item from the pop-up menu.

    • Enter a valid value in the field to the right of the parameter’s control.

      Figure. Effect Parameters area of the Effects tab.

Chaining and Reordering Realtime Effects

You can add more than one realtime effect to a track, bus, submix, or audio file project. Adding multiple effects to an effects chain is called chaining effects.

When you add multiple effects, the effects are applied in sequence, meaning that the output of the first effect becomes the input for the next effect, and so on, for each effect in the chain. The order in which effects are applied is important, because each alters the input signal, which includes the output of previous effects in the chain. You can reorder effects and hear the difference in the way they alter the sound.

To add multiple effects to an effects chain
Do one of the following:
  • Double-click the effect you want to add in the Effects list.

  • Select the effect in the Effects list, then click the Add Effect button.

The effect appears in the Effect Parameters area below any previously added effects. You can now set the parameters of the added effect.

Figure. Effects tab.

Note: Adding more than a few effects to an effects chain can cause extreme changes to the sound of a project. This may be what you want, but in some cases can produce undesirable results. Listen to the project as you add effects to be sure you are satisfied with the results.

To reorder effects in an effects chain
  • In the Effect Parameters area, drag the effect up or down in the list to change its order.

    Figure. Effects Parameters area of the Effects tab, showing a list of effects.

Bypassing Realtime Effects

You can turn off an effect in the Effects tab, which “bypasses” the effect in the effects chain. When you bypass an effect, the effect is not heard, but all effect parameters are retained. To hear the effect again, reselect the effect’s checkbox. This lets you hear how each effect in a chain alters the sound.

Figure. Effects tab showing the list of effects.
To bypass an effect
  • In the Effects tab, deselect the checkbox next to the effect.

Adding Sends to Tracks

You can add sends to a realtime effects chain. When you add a send, the send is added at the end of the current effects chain. You can move the send to another place in the effects chain, choose the bus for a send, adjust send volume and pan, and bypass a send. For more general information about sends and busses, see Using Sends and Busses.

To add a send to a track
Do one of the following:
  • Control-click the track in the Timeline or the Mixer, then choose Add Send from the shortcut menu.

  • In the Effects tab, click the Add Send button.

A send appears below the last effect in the track’s effects chain. You can assign the send to a bus in the Effects tab or the Mixer.

Choosing the Bus to Which a Send Is Routed

When you add a send, the audio is routed from the send to a bus. By default, the first send you add to a track is routed to Bus 1, the second send is routed to Bus 2, and so on, if the bus exists. Once you add a send, you can choose the bus to which the send is routed.

Figure. Effect list area of the Effects tab, showing Send pop-up menu and Add Send button.
To choose the bus to which a send is routed
Do one of the following:
  • In the Effect Parameters area of the Effects tab, choose a bus from the Send pop-up menu.

  • In the Mixer, Control-click an effects slot in the channel strip, choose Add Send from the shortcut menu, then choose one of the available busses in the submenu.

Note: If no bus exists, the menus will read “Unconnected.” You must first create a bus by choosing Multitrack > Add Bus.

Adjusting Send Volume

You can adjust the volume level for the audio routed through a send.

To adjust send volume
  1. If the send volume slider is not visible, click the disclosure triangle for the send.

  2. Drag the send volume slider left to lower the volume level, or drag it right to raise the volume level.

Adjusting Send Pan Position

You can adjust the pan position for the audio routed through a send.

To adjust send pan position
  1. If the send pan sliders are not visible, click the disclosure triangle for the send.

  2. Drag the send pan (x) slider left to pan the send to the left, or drag it right to pan the send to the right.

  3. Drag the pan (y) and pan (lfe) sliders to adjust the surround pan settings.

Note: For information on surround panning, see Mixing Surround Sound.

Reordering Sends

You can reorder sends in the Effects tab or in the Mixer.

To reorder a send
  • In the Effect Parameters area or in the Mixer, drag the send up or down in the list to change its order.

Bypassing Sends

You can bypass a send. When you bypass a send, the audio is not routed to the bus for the send and is not heard.

To bypass an effect
  • In the Effects tab, deselect the checkbox next to the send.

Automating Realtime Effect Parameters

You can automate realtime effect parameters using envelopes. When you automate an effect parameter, you can change the value of the parameter over time. You are basically “recording” effect parameter changes into parameter automation envelopes that can then be edited and re-recorded. For more information about automation, see Working with Automation.

To automate a realtime effect parameter
  1. In the Effects tab, select the Auto (Automation-enable) checkbox next to the parameter’s control.

    Figure. Effect list area of the Effects tab, showing automation-enable checkboxes.
  2. In the Timeline or in the File Editor project view, show the envelopes for the track, bus, submix, or audio file project.

    In the Timeline, you show the envelopes for the track, bus, or submix with the effect. In the File Editor, you show the envelopes for the audio file project.

  3. Add and adjust envelope points in the effect’s envelope.

    For information on adding and adjusting envelope points, see Working with Automation.

When you automate an effect parameter with units of time (seconds or milliseconds) or beats per minute (BPM) for values, the parameter is linked to the project tempo. If the tempo changes, the value of the parameter changes to keep the same relationship to the new tempo.

Resetting Realtime Effects to Their Default Settings

Every realtime effect has default parameter settings that are displayed in the Effect Parameters area when you first add the effect. You can reset an effect to its default parameter settings, or reset an individual parameter to its default setting.

To reset a realtime effect to its default settings
  • In the Effects tab, select the effect name in the Effect Parameters area, then click the Reset button.

To reset an individual effect parameter to its default settings
  • Select the parameter in the Effect Parameters area, then click the Reset button.

Removing Realtime Effects

You can remove a realtime effect from an effects chain.

To remove an effect
  • Select the effect name in the Effect Parameters area, then click the Remove Effect button on the right edge of the Effects tab (or press the Delete key).